Simply put, a brand is the promise you're making to your customer. When someone thinks about your brand, how do they feel, and what can they expect to experience? You create a strong brand by deciding on your brand personality, aligning your brand elements, then delivering on that promise with consistent actions that support your brand personality.
Today we'll discuss how to decide which brand personality works for your business and we'll explore strong examples of each. If you want to know more about brand consistency, and how to communicate the importance throughout your company, check out my brand consistency blog.
The Five Dimensions of a Brand Personality
The strongest brands create a sense of belonging for their customers. As Seth Godin states in his book Tribes, “A tribe is a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea.” People like us, do things like this - is how you want your customers to identify with your brand. You do this in the same way you would with a person - elicit an emotional response.
Jennifer Aaker created a framework for analyzing and identifying five dimensions of a brand in The Five Dimensions of Brand Personality. She uses this model to describe the profile of a brand by using the analogy of a human being, and assessing how much of each dimension a brand portrays. The five dimensions are: sincerity, excitement, competence, sophistication and ruggedness. It's best to choose one main personality dimension to focus on for your brand, even if you might convey several.
Which dimension best describes your brand? Do your visual brand elements convey this feeling? What about your actions, products, and business processes. The personality you're developing should match the feelings and reactions of your customers. Let's look at an example of each dimension to see these concepts in action.
What do you feel when you think about these brands? Usually with a strong, classic, sincere brand, you'll recall a heartwarming memory. When woman think of Dove, they think of the idea of simplicity, and appreciating their natural beauty - or being down to earth. These well-established brands consistently make consumers feel cared about and considered. They're reliable and predictable just like a sincere friend. They take time and consistency to build properly.
Unpredictability can be exciting right? Tesla has that covered with their passion for disrupting industries and challenging our notion of what is possible. Exciting brands tend to give you a feeling of a lifestyle you crave. The long list of celebrities that have worked with Nike draw you in to join their tribe of confident athletes. Loyal Tik Tok users feel a sense of togetherness as they share the most exciting moments of their lives with the world. These brands say people like us live open, extroverted lives. They are confident, smart, and like a challenge.
Think of the smart person you know, the one you go to for advice and you can trust the validity of their opinions. Do you sell a highly technical product, or service? This could be the brand personality for you. If the product you provide is contingent upon high levels of consistency, safety, or reliability, then you'll want to convey competence very clearly. Choose simple and strong images, fonts, and colors, but above all, lead with your actions to build confidence in your product or service. This will help your customers identify your brand as the most competent among the competition.